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|Games||List of all games|
|Debut||Pokémon: Red, Green and Blue Versions (1996)|
The Pokémon series is a group of games that revolve around special types of creatures known as Pocket Monsters (in the original Japanese) or Pokémon for short. Most of the games revolve around catching and training Pokemon. The games initially became a cultural phenomena akin to Mario's years ago following the games' worldwide release for the end of the 90s. The series has expanded with various spin-offs that play off of the mainstream games and allow the player to assume different roles within the world such as that of a photographer, researcher or Pokémon ranger, in addition to games where players can directly control Pokémon. There are currently five generations of mainstream games, with the current count of Pokémon being 649.
The Pokémon games are primarily a handheld series. The mainstream games follow a silent protagonist on a quest to capture all of the different types of Pokémon found in the world. The player must also train these Pokémon to face various challenges such as the eight gym leaders and the Elite Four, who must be conquered to become the Pokémon Champion. Each generation also traditionally has its own unique evil corporation that the player can battle and defeat. The games utilize RPG-like gameplay for battles.
The term "generation" has been coined to describe different sets of Pokémon games that have arise over the years. A generation usually begins with two different versions of the same game. The versions usually have primarily minor differences, although later games have been making more significant differences between original versions. The primary change is in the availability of certain Pokémon, which causes the emphasis on trading Pokémon between players in order to collect all of the Pokémon of a certain region, and later generations also have functions to trade with previous generations. There is also typically a third version in a generation which will feature more significant alterations to the plot or setting, such as the addition of new characters and plotlines, as well as continuing to switch around the availability of certain species. The first generation is the only one so far to feature four versions instead of the original three. Each generation is typically set at a different region, with a fresh set of characters and a new plotline as well as a new set of around 100 Pokémon. These generations of different color versions make up the mainstream Pokémon series.
The other games are various spin-offs which have arisen over the years and place the Pokémon in various different settings. Some explore the Pokémon universe from other points of view, while others simply utilize other genres in a Pokémon setting such as pinball or puzzles. Other games also have ways of linking up to the mainstream games to unlock more Pokémon. Two of the more prominent subseries to arise have started with the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and Pokémon Ranger. The Gamecube also notably featured two games which were closest to the mainstream series, Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, which had their own RPG-oriented story mode and could even trade Pokémon with the Game Boy Advance color versions.
The Pokémon series was actually conceived back in 1990, just a year after the release of the Game Boy and the formation of Game Freak. Satoshi Tajiri started with the idea of trading insects between Game Boys, and the original title was Capsule Monsters until it was changed to Pocket Monsters due to trademark issues. The initial game spent six years in development before it was released in 1996 as two different versions: the Red Version and Green Version. This served Tajiri's original goal, as players would have to trade between their games to get all of the Pokémon, as one could only obtain a certain amount of the 150 Pokémon using just one game. There was also a hidden 151st Pokémon, Mew, which was inserted at the last minute and could be obtained primarily through Nintendo events.
The games initially had lukewarm sales, but the popularity began building up with the revelation of Mew and the release of the tie-in trading card game as well as the beginning of the popular anime and manga series. The next version to be released within the same year was the Blue Version, which was merely a graphically updated version of the previous two games. The series was brought to America in 1998 with Red and Blue Versions. These Versions were a mix of the previous Japanese versions: they were the original Red and Green, modified with the graphics from Blue. 1998 also marked the beginning of the Pokémon Stadium subseries, which was a console tie-in series on the Nintendo 64 where players could link up their individual versions, and the game focused on the battling part of the games. Several other spin-offs also began to arise for both handhelds and consoles in the late 90s such as Pokémon Snap and Pokémon Pinball, and the first generation was eventually concluded with Pokémon: Yellow Version, another variation on the original game which added elements from the anime series.
The second generation of games launched in 1999 with the release of Pokémon: Gold and Silver Versions on the Game Boy Color. These games expanded upon the first generation with new mechanics such as Pokémon gender and a breeding system as well as a built-in clock with a day/night system. Although the game was set in a new region called Johto, it was established to be connected to the first generation's setting, Kanto, Various characters and locations from the first generation could be revisited, and the last opponent was even the previous player protagonist, something which so far has only been unique to the second generation. Although the second generation was designed as the "ultimate" Pokémon, the popularity of the series propelled them to continue the series. The second generation was rounded out by Pokémon: Crystal Version, which added a new plotline and some gameplay features such as the choice of the player character's gender, which would recur in later games.
The series eventually arrived on the Game Boy Advance with the third generation in 2002. Pokémon: Ruby and Sapphire Versions were set in an entirely new continent and featured various alternations to the gameplay, and they were also incompatible with the preceding Game Boy games. Ruby and Sapphire notably both featured different stories, and each story had a different set of antagonists. The Emerald Version would later combine both storylines while adding a new area called the Battle Frontier. The Battle Frontier became an optional battle-based challenge within the games. The first generation games were also remade for the Game Boy Advance as Pokémon: FireRed and LeafGreen Versions and were capable of trading with the third generation games.
The fourth generation was launched in 2006 with Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Versions for the Nintendo DS. These versions added some new features while reprising others from the second generation such as the day and night system. The version differences also were less drastic than the third generation. Pokémon: Platinum Version was the last game in the generation and featured alterations to the storyline as well as a new Battle Frontier. They were soon followed by DS remakes of the second generation, Pokémon: HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions, which like FireRed/LeafGreen, added features from later generations combined with graphical updates.
The series was then revamped for the fifth generation in 2010 with the development of Pokémon: Black and White Versions. This game featured a fresh setting, an emphasis on new Pokémon and a darker storyline as well as variations on the formulas of previous games. This game could also connect to the internet, with a feature known as the Pokémon Dream World.
The Pokémon anime began airing in 1997 and has been airing to this day. The anime follows the adventures of Ash Ketchum, a character based on the first generation protagonist Red, and his loyal Pikachu. The anime has followed the games in terms of regions and Pokémon, with a corresponding series for each generation. When the Kanto series was finished prior to the release of the second generation games, an original arc set in the Orange Islands was created to buy time. There was also a Battle Frontier series which acknowledged FireRed/LeafGreen at the same time as Emerald by being set in Kanto. The series was most recently revamped for the Unova season for a refreshed feeling, similar to the intention of the matching games. There have also been annual anime movies starring the cast, which usually focuses on a legendary Pokémon and/or introduces new Pokémon from a coming generation. The anime's localization was successful and continues to this day, although most of the voice actors were changed once the rights changed hands from 4Kids Entertainment to The Pokémon Company.
The supporting characters have been shuffled throughout the series. At first, the gym leaders Brock and Misty appeared as Ash's supporting companions. Brock was briefly replaced by an original character named Tracy Sketchit during the Orange Islands arc, and Misty left permanently after the Johto region. In later series, Ash's new female companion would be the female player character from the corresponding game: May during the Hoenn/Battle Frontier series (who was joined by her brother Max for the Hoenn portion) and Dawn during the Sinnoh series. The slate was cleaned for the Unova series, with Brock departing and the addition of two fifth generation leaders, Cilan and Iris, as Ash's new companions. The anime has deviated from the game series in several key ways. Agents of Team Rocket have appeared as recurring antagonists for nearly ever episode prior to the Unova series. Unlike in the games, Giovanni has never been challenged and beaten, so Team Rocket continues to be active. The agents appearing in every episode are Jessie and James, who are always accompanied by their talking Meowth. These characters continued to appear in Unova, but they received some alterations to act as more competent villains and have stronger storyline roles.
The Pokémon Adventures manga started in 1997. Written by Hidenori Kusaka and featuring art by Mato (for the first nine volumes) followed by Satoshi Yamamoto, this manga more closely follows the game's events while taking on a darker tone. There are multiples arcs featuring trainers whose names are adapted directly from the different color versions, with the earliest trainers being Red, Blue and Green. There has been a Red/Green/Blue arc (with Green being a female trainer based on an used female starting trainer) followed by Yellow (which featured an original character named Yellow), Gold/Silver/Crystal, 'Ruby/Sapphire, FireRed/LeafGreen (which reprises the characters from the first three arcs), Emerald (which winds up concluding FireRed/LeafGreen and introducing a new trainer named Emerald), Diamond/Pearl, Platinum and Black/White. The manga still takes some liberties with the plot, such as the Yellow arc introducing the Elite Four as villains. Later arcs have had characters who are closer to their game portrayals, however.
There have also been a variety of other manga adaptations, many of which are short-term mangas that are only based on individual games. One of the more well-known mangas, due to its localization as The Electric Tale of Pikachu, was a manga based on the anime that lasted for four volumes. There has also been a long-running gag manga exclusive to Japan.
- List of all games
- List of Pokémon Characters
- List of Pokémon